Watford vs. Liverpool
Saturday, February 29, 2020 – 5.30pm (GMT)
Premier League (28)
Referee: Michael Oliver
After a dramatic clash last time out, Jurgen Klopp will be no doubt be eager for a smoother encounter at Vicarage Road.
The Reds were behind on the scoreboard in the Premier League for the first time since November after Issa Diop and Pablo Fornals both struck for West Ham—leaving it all to do with just over half an hour on the clock.
But as ever, Liverpool found a way to secure all three points to move within 12 of officially clinching the Premier League title.
And while another victory on the weekend would see the target drop to single digits, the outing is also one which could see Klopp’s side rewrite the record books once more.
Nigel Pearson oversaw his first game as the Hornets’ manager in the 2-0 loss at Anfield in December, and his side went on to win four of their next five league games—but the bounce following his arrival has quickly dissipated.
While the Reds are flying high, Watford have dropped deeper into the relegation zone having picked up just two points from their last five games.
They currently sit in 19th, one point adrift of safety with 11 games remaining.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have taken 110 points from the last 114 available and anything but three more for Klopp’s Reds would be a surprise.
After a number of weeks with few injuries to consider, Klopp has two in his midfield ranks in addition to Xherdan Shaqiri‘s continued absence.
Jordan Henderson remains sidelined after sustaining a hamstring injury in the defeat at Atletico Madrid, one which is only set to see his return to action after a minimum of two weeks.
With this game coming five days after the win over West Ham and three before the clash at Stamford Bridge, the manager has a number of options at his disposal.
The hosts, on the other hand, are likely to remain without Daryl Janmaat as he has only just returned to training following a knee injury.
Possible Watford XI: Foster; Mariappa, Kabasele, Cathcart, Masina; Hughes, Capoue; Sarr, Doucoure, Deulofeu; Deeney
Last 5 Away to Watford (All Competitions)
Won 3-0 – November 2018 (Salah, Alexander-Arnold, Firmino)
Drew 3-3 – August 2017 (Okaka, Doucoure, Britos; Mane, Firmino pen, Salah)
Won 1-0 – May 2017 (Can)
Lost 3-0 – December 2015 (Ake, Ighalo x2)
Won 3-0 – January 2007 (Bellamy, Crouch x2)
Away fans’ pubs: The Oddfellows is the officially designated pub for away fans and is less than a five-minute walk away from the stadium.
Did You Know?
The boss has faced off against the Hornets nine times since taking over at the club, and has won on seven occasions—the joint-most against any side he has faced in the Premier League, level with Crystal Palace.
The aggregate score sits at 27-7, with the last four meetings all seeing Liverpool walk away with a clean sheet.
And both Mane and Salah have been integral to the Reds’ recent record against Watford, with the former scoring five and assisting four in his last six league meetings.
Salah has eight goals to his name in five appearances, the most he has scored against any side in his Liverpool career to date.
Can they all add to their tally and pile further misery on the hosts on Saturday?
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Watford – Last five results (all competitions)
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp said he expects Watford to “strike back, 100 percent” after a difficult run of results:
“It’s tough, it’s really tough, because you need each point you can get and that’s what they didn’t have in the last five games I think.
“But they will strike back, 100 percent. Home game, everybody expects Liverpool to come there and we are only asked about game No. 19 [to win in a row].
“That’s a wonderful situation for them to try to give us a proper struggle. We know that, that’s not the first time it happened.”
TV & Liveblog Info
Chris Williams will be keeping you up to date with all the action and providing his usual biased take on This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, starting from 4.45pm.